Then I suggest to ask the English voice of Boris who is actually German. Boris hasn’t much to say, so maybe he is willing to dub the Italian version for free? (The German Broken Sword cast did that with/in the fan game Broken Sword 2.5.)
Demo 5. I used Podcast 6 for this one. I’m especially interested in feedback on a few of the changes I have in this version, which include:
- a change to the caption font, to match the game font
- spotlight which moves to follow speaker
- random arm animations on the speaker
Other changes I expect will be less controversial are additional layers added to the RadioStudio, an animated “on air” sign, and animated “reels and lights” on the machines in the back right of the recording room.
I like it a lot! Though I would still prefer to have the text individually colored instead of the speech bubbles.
I didn’t really understand what you meant by that, but I just went back to the game and I see now how the text on the screen works there. I will see if I can do somethIng similar to that. I agree that may be an improvement.
Maybe it’s me, but something I find odd is that only Ron speaks into a mic.
I’d add two mics for David and Gary.
I don’t like the idea of turning on and off lights to enhance the speaker. It’s annoying and unrealistic. If you like the idea to highlight somehow the speaker, a red light on his mic is much more discreet.
The way the script works, the first speaker who speaks in the podcast (who has always been Ron so far) stands furthest to the left, and is therefore near the mic. The issue is that the mic is drawn into the window layer, it isn’t a standaline sprite, so I can’t easily replicate it, I’ll have to play around for a while in a pixel editor to make a sprite for the mic (also note, the mic overlaps with the crack in the window, which will make extracting it from the window image more complex, but not impossible). Also, because it’s an adjustable position type mic, I think it would look weird to have 3 mic in exactly the same position, so if I did this, I’d probable alter the image (now I’ll really be pushing my pixel art skills) to have each mic in a slightly different orientation, and ideally one that is less likely to obscure the speaker’s face.
All that said, I appreciate this feedback, it’s something that’s been bothering me too, and knowing it bothers someone else makes it more likely I’ll go through the effort to change it.
I wondered if the lights would seem unrealistic. I tried it with no lights at all and that was weird, and then a light always on above each speaker, but that didn’t seem ideal either. I think in the next demo, I’ll try both those options for stretches of time (maybe 30 seconds to a minute each) so I can get some feedback from others on how these options look.
I love it, OK for the on air sign, the coloured bubbles, the arms animations.
I find the changing spotlights a bit annoying this way, it was better when they where fixed over our characters.
It’s clear anyway who is talking (bubble colour, the triangle under the speaker).
Could you make the changing spotlights an option?
Overall, it’s very pleasant to follow. Great!
OK, Demo 6 now uploaded (I used Podcast #8). Here are my notes on this version:
Experiments with the spot lights on the speakers. Every 30 seconds changes mode from (only the person speaking, all speakers, none). Added eye animations for the first time. Look at active speaker, blink randomly. Added closed door on the recording room. Changed panning so near foreground pans faster, as with the game, for the illusion of depth.
I’m actually leaning towards no spotlights at all on the speakers. I’m curious what others think about this. Also, I’m curious what you think of the eye animations.
First of all: I don’t find the spotlights annoying as long as there is only one spotlight highlighting the current speaker. But the best way would be indeed to turn of the spotlights at all - or make them more subtle (in other words: make them more transparent ).
The random arm movements distracted me, but the eye movements are great. (With them you don’t need the spotlights).
But great work!
It only gets a little irritating after a while when they change a lot. I can do without, I think.
I like both no spotlights at all, or all spotlights on.
Maybe, as Someone pointed out, try to make them more transparent.
Eye animations are simply [put any superb adjective at will]
I really don’t like the flashing lights, sorry, pal.
I’d turn 'em off. But, if they’re going to stay on, more transparent would be better in my opinion. Everything else is very good. The parallax is great, I’d tweak it to make it even more evident.
I like the arms movements, it feels weird to see 'em moving their heads, lips, eyes but staying still standing as soldiers.
Eye movement helps a lot in following the talk flow.
That’s great man! I already have too many hobbies and don’t feel like signing up for another, but looking forward to see what you guys are working on!!
Eye animations look great, in my opinion; they add a touch of welcome realism.
I don’t like the spotlight changing according to the current speaker; it feels unnatural to me and sometimes a little annoying, when they change back and forth in a very fast way. I like them always turned on, but always turned off would be OK as well for me.
Spotlights: always on, but less pronounced ( they mess up the colors too much.) perhaps you could experiment with them being not relative to the speakers, but rather to the studio room (perhaps tilted as well).
Arm movements: great! I don’t know if you exclude the possibility of both arms lifted? That might be fun if it happens once in a million.
Eye movement: great except that the non-speaking is constantly looking at the speaker. If possible, change it to look for a few seconds to the (new) speaker upon speaker changes. And then randomly look either front or to the speaker. Also for quick transitions, you might want to avoid looking at the speaker completely (unless you want it to look like a tennis game audience). Or they should watch each other.
Text: I think I’d prefer text displayed above, rather than below. Instead of colored speech bubbles, you could go for the colored font as in the game.
Random idea: instead of spotlight changes, you might add a VU meter for every speaker?
I like the eye movements a lot, but I second @Sushi’s suggestion to randomize it a bit so that they don’t always stare at the speaker. Plus, I’d make them blink a little bit more often but it’s wonderful.
I also prefer with no spotlights, or with spotlights always on but more transparent.
Did you try to put colored text above the characters like in the game?
These are brilliant! When you get them perfected, I’ll post links to them all on the blog.
uh…too much work on this…
It is a lot of work, between Sushi cleaning up and annotating/publishing the text podcasts, and me working on the animation scripts. For my own part, I am working on this because I enjoy it, and because it gives me a fun way to improve my python coding skills, which is something I’ve been needing more and more at work. It also gives me an opportunity to work on a ‘gaming’ related coding project, which has always been an interest of mine, which I explored quite a bit in my teen years, but have had to put aside due to work for a long time. Working with the PyGame python library is a good intro to 2D-type game programming, and extracting and manipulating the graphics from the game spritesheets, has given me a change to better appreciate 2D graphics manipulation, and alpha transparency blending. As long as I keep learning interesting stuff, and I’m having fun, I don’t see any reason to stop. The amount of time I can put on this varies quite a bit, from days in a row with no work, to single days with 5+ hours.
Interesting, some here like the arm movements, and some don’t. I’m on the fence - I agree with the sentiment: from Ema:
The only image I have from the spritesheet is the right hand lifted. I mirrored that image for the left hand, because I thought it was weird with all three speakers just occasionally lifting the right hand while talking. I also had planned what you suggested, occasionally lifting both - but I have to work a bit harder to crop a right and left side and stitch them together to get that image - so I’ve put that off - but that is my plan.
I agree with all of this. I’m also exploring the speakers turning toward eachother, as I do have a side body image to work with (with mouth positions also), so they could talk while turning to the side as well.
I’m also dreaming of having them walk into the recording room at the start, and possibly walking around changing positions occasionally during the podcast - though that would have to be handled carefully to not look weird. I’m thinking this might be more relevant in future podcasts when we have one or more guest speakers, where we might not have enough room in the recording room for everyone. I’m looking forward a podcast transcript with an additional speaker to explore that a bit, but it will take time to code.
I’m also planning to restructure the code. It’s not object oriented enough, and consequently is getting harder to manage, as I add more functionality like this.